Blog / 16 April 2020

New faces are needed for a different future

In this time of crisis-driven reflection we can read telling analyses of past and present on all sides which are being translated into agendas for action. Many of the analyses address issues like inequality, climate, the financial sector, health care, education and women’s rights. They talk about ‘what’ and much less about ‘who’ or ‘how’.But a different future can only be built together with everyone, young and old, men and women. This future will not simply happen to us; we ourselves have a hand in it. It is time for new faces around the table, with new voices. It is time for a new future.

In the Netherlands, it is clear that there are few new voices to be heard. The national crisis team we see as normal citizens is made up only of men. Now and again, we hear the opinion of a white woman, usually talking about background details. And the great majority of the people we get to see are over 45.

That can and must change. Giving other people an influence on our future will give us a different future. If we allow the same ideas and thoughts that brought us to where we are now to shape our future, we will end up in the same place. At Both ENDS we have been working for many years to get fresh faces, people who can offer new ideas, around the decision-making table.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, we have seen a rapid growth in local networks which, parallel to the process of globalisation, have grown into worldwide movements. The women’s movement, trade unions and the anti-racism movement have all been in existence for more than century. In response to globalisation, the climate movement, the tax justice movement, Voedsel Anders and transition cities have all grown to maturity.

All of these movements are a combination of protest and concrete action. Proposals for the future are inspired by successful experiences at local level – food forests, greening of the Sahel, sustainable energy cooperatives, and public budgeting processes. Besides great diversity and active members, they have self-created funding mechanisms. So far, our political leaders and the often male directors of banks and corporations only pay lip service to this widely supported call for change. They remain selectively deaf and ignore the very feasible trade perspectives that these movements and their funding mechanisms offer to move us closer to a fair and sustainable world.

If we want a more just and sustainable future, we have to take a different course. Together with all those movements that have one foot in local action and the other in the wider world. Let us make policy and investment decisions together. After all, if we keep doing what we have always done, we will get what we always got. So, in Loesje’s  words: 'Make the world better. Start now!'.


Read more about this subject